Modifying the Mossberg 500 for home defense

When the zombie hordes come and you need a good tool to lay them down, the shotgun is a pretty poor choice.  Most shotguns are slow to load and reload, they don’t hold very many rounds and the ammo is heavy and takes up way too much space.  When fighting masses of zombies, get yourself a good AR and a stack of loaded mags.

Mossberg 500A

Plain Jane hunting shotgun.

However, is you are defending your home against an invader or predator, the shotgun can be a very wise choice.  With just a few modifications you can take an inexpensive hunting gun like the Mossberg 500 and convert it into a respectable and efficient defensive weapon.

Mossberg 500 modified for defensive use.

Mossberg 500 after a few simple modifications for defensive use.

The Mossberg 500 has been around since 1960 with very few changes (in 1970 the slide was changed from a  single action bar to a more durable dual action bar mechanism).  They are very common, reliable and inexpensive.  Because the Mossberg 500 has been around so long and in such high numbers the after-market is filled with accessories.  However, just because there are numerous ‘tactical’ accessories for the 500 series of shotguns doesn’t mean they are all practical.

When modifying my Mossberg 500 I chose to keep modifications simple and basic:

Sling:  I chose to put a sling on the shotgun.  I like the idea of being able to sling the shotgun over my shoulder if I need to use two hands for something.  It sure beats laying the gun down or leaning it against something.  I could have chosen a sling with loops for extra ammo, but I didn’t want all that extra weight swinging around when I shouldered the weapon to fire it.

Barrel:  I opted for the shorter 20″ barrel.  The long barrel is great for hunting, but the shorter barrel is much lighter and handier when turning around in a hallway or stairway.

Capacity:  The magazine tube comes from the factory with a ‘duck plug’ limiting the capacity to just two rounds.  The small wooden dowel is easily removed by turning the gun upside-down when the barrel is removed.  It just falls out far enough for you to grab it with your fingers.  No tools required.  Removing the plug increased the magazine capacity to 5 rounds (both for 23/4″ and 3″ shells).  I also added an Uncle Mike’s butt stock shell holder to either load or reload 5 rounds quickly.  With the butt stock shell holder, I am able to just grab the gun and go if I’m in a hurry.

Mossberg 500 duck plug

After tipping the gun down with the barrel removed the duck plug falls out.

Mossberg 500 with duck plug removed

The removal of the duck plug frees up space for three more rounds in the magazine

Ammo:  I like the flexibility of being able to load 00 buck, slugs, or bird shot in the same magazine.  This allows the shotgun to blow the hinges off a door, knock birds out of the sky, or turn a near miss on a bad guy into a hit.  No other weapon has the ammo flexibility of a shotgun.

Ammo for shot guns

Everything from bird shot to 00 buck to high brass slugs can be fired from the same gun with no modifications.

Things I did not change and why:

Sights: The Mossberg 500 comes with only a brass bead from sight.  I left it as is.  I could have put ghost ring sights on the receiver, optics or even a laser,  but I believe in keeping things simple for a defensive weapon.   There are no gadgets that require batteries and nothing to add weight or complexity to the weapon.  At close range you really don’t use the sights on a shotgun anyway.  Just point and shoot.

Stock: Many people put pistol-grip stocks on their Mossberg. I’ve done it myself. I thought it looked cool.  I have since removed the pistol grip stocks because it was way too awkward to work the tang safety.  The pistol grip does make sense on a Remington 870 where the safety is lower, but not on a Mossberg.

Simple changes to Mossberg 500

With just a few simple changes the Mossberg 500 can be an effective defensive weapon

Why choose a shotgun for home defense?   Lots of reasons.  They’re light, powerful, reliable, and flexible.  Maybe not the best choice for taking on hundreds of zombies, but great for taking on just about anything else.


About krasinsk1 Big John Tutorials

I've been an active shooter, reloader and gunsmith for 30+ years. I hold a Bachelor's degree from Montana State University and a Master's degree from the University of Oregon. I enjoy studying, collecting and shooting just about every type and kind of firearm.
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